The DAP Organising Secretary, Mr Lim Kit Siang, today (22.7.68) issued the following statement:
Disbelief, dismay and shock must have been the reaction of compassionate Malaysians today when they read about the speech by the UMNO Youth Leader, Inche Senu bin Abdul Rahman, yesterday that the plea for a stay of execution of the 11 youths in Johore made by the editorial of the Alliance Party Journal, the Alliance, does not represent the views of Alliance leaders .
In his speech to the annual delegates conference of the Kinta Utara UMNO Youth Division, Inche Senu has dimmed the hopes of the majority of Malaysians who wish to see these 11 youths spared the supreme penalty of death.
We do not understand why people like Inche Senu, Mr. Bernard Lu and Mr. Kam Woon Wah are so single-minded in wanting to extract the pound of flesh from these 11 misguided youths.
We can quote instances of men, who had been openly branded as having “conspired with enemies of the State” during Confrontation by Alliance Ministers, who are now free men.
We are not asking the same treatment for these 11 youths, although their offence is less grave. We are only asking that their death sentence be commuted to life imprisonment.
The Sultan of Johore is vested with the prerogative of mercy to exercise clemency in special cases. Compassionate Malaysians have given five grounds, through the national signature petition, to show why this is a special case deserving the Sultan’s elemency.
People who claim that to petition the Sultan is an interference with justice do not know what they are talking. Such people are actually advocating the abolition of the Sultan’s prerogative of mercy after a court decision had been made.
Alliance leaders, including Inche Senu yesterday, have gone out of their way to claim that this national clemency movement is a racial movement.
We appeal to Alliance leaders to stop playing up racial differences. They should emphasise and concentrate on points of agreement and similarity between the various races in this country, if we are to build a united and harmonious multiracial nation.
Do not go round the country and tell the people that the 11 condemned men are Chinese, and deserve to die or to be saved. Do not tell the people to react as Chinese, Malays, or Indians. Such activities will sow the seed for racial conflict and disunity.
What everyone should do is to regard this subject strictly above race and purely on humanitarian grounds.
Humanity, compassion and mercy know no barriers, either of race, religion or party politics.
If the 11 condemned had been Malays or Indians, or a composition of all three races, the same humanitarian grounds will also apply, the same national signature call will be made if similar circumstances take place.
Tens of thousands of Malaysians, of all races, religion and party affiliations, have signed up in the national signature campaign not because they are Malay, Chinese or Indian or because they are DAP, UMNO, MCA, MIC, PPP or Gerakan members, but because they are human beings who can feel for fellow human beings.
We urge Alliance Ministers and leaders to immediately stop their speech round the country giving the racial interpretation to the campaign – in the interest of national unity and harmony.
We urge them to set the example and act, think, speak and behave as Malaysians.
The national signature campaign was launched by the DAP as a last desperate attempt to save the 11 youths after the firm rejection of appeals for clemency by the Pardons Board of Johore.
We do not want political gain, and are always prepared to let anyone to take over the running of the national signature campaign, even by the Alliance, so long as the 11 lives are saved.
Throughout the country, thousands of UMNO, MCA and MIC have signed the petition. I am sure that there are many more in the Alliance at all levels of leadership who are like-minded. We urge Alliance leaders also to heed the wishes of their members, who have compassion and a heart.
The national signature campaign is the last chance to save the 11 youths from the gallows. Those who have not signed up should immediately do so.
We welcome the Pope’s plea for mercy on behalf of the 11 youths, and appeal again to all organisations, whether religious bodies, trade unions, chambers of commerce, student organisations, youth movements, associations, educational bodies, professional organisations, to immediately add their voice to the national plea for pardon.
Let us show the world that we are a people with humanity and compassion, a people who have the ability to care for fellow human beings.
Audited on 2021-03-29.